MYNORTHWEST NEWS

‘Betrayed colleagues’: Kent woman sentenced after embezzling $2.5M from firm

Aug 29, 2023, 6:31 PM

Everett embezzling...

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Christin Guillory, an accounting manager at an Everett-based manufacturing company, has been sentenced to three years in prison for wire fraud and tax fraud related to a 10-year embezzlement scheme, according to a press statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Guillory, 40, stole more than $2.5 million from her employer by transferring funds to accounts made up of fake companies she created, and then routing the funds to her own bank accounts.

“Ms. Guillory betrayed colleagues who were also her friends,” acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said in the prepared statement. “For nine years, she engaged in a meticulous scheme to hide her theft. Over those nine years, she deliberately chose to steal from the company 867 times. And she did it while working side-by-side with colleagues who trusted her.”

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Her illegal activity started in April 2013 when she set up an account with payment processor Square and altered the display name to make the account appear as a commercial shipping company, the DOJ reported. Between 2014 and 2019, Guillory secretly put $1,695,591 into that account and then transferred the money to her own bank accounts. Guillory would also make false entries within company bookkeeping records to conceal the theft.

“The victim company and its management and employees entrusted Guillory with access to its corporate funds,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson stated, according to the DOJ. “Guillory had a longstanding and close friendship with the president of the company. Guillory worked closely with him and other colleagues each day for years. The whole time Guillory knew she was secretly stealing, placing the company’s financial security – and her colleagues’ jobs — at risk.”

At the sentencing hearing, one of the district judges said Guillory’s theft was driven by a drug addiction.

“You’ve known your entire life that you had an addiction issue, but you never took any steps on your own to deal with it,” U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said to Guillory.

By 2019, Guillory stopped using Square in favor of two PayPal accounts — one with a display name similar to her employer and the second labeled with the name of a shipping company in which she had no affiliation. In 2020 and 2021, she orchestrated the transfer of $604,000 to the PayPal accounts while continuing to make false accounting entries to cover her tracks, according to the DOJ.

Gorman, in the press statement, described Guillory’s decisions in 2021 as even more brazen as, between August and November, she transferred $247,000 directly from company accounts to her own bank accounts. The scheme was detected when a financial institution reported irregularities.

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Guillory also filed false tax returns, failing to report the approximate $2.5 million she embezzled. The district court displayed for the 2019 tax year, Guillory represented that her income was $38,022, but failed to report the $615,392 in income she received that year from her embezzlement.

“Ms. Guillory carried out her embezzlement for years, ultimately stealing more than $2.5 million from her employer,” Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said, the DOJ reports. “She endeavored to cover up her actions and violated the trust, not only of her employer, but also of people who considered her a friend. I appreciate the work of our investigators and those of our partners who finally brought an end to her scheme.”

Judge Martinez ordered Guillory pay restitution of $2,536,086 to the company, and $590,850 to the U.S. Treasury. She’ll also serve three years of supervised release after she completes her prison sentence.

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